Today's Story Line:

So many nations have shed military or authoritarian rule in the past two decades that it's easy to shrug off the return of democracy in a nation of 120 million. But on Saturday, Nigeria elected a civilian president, despite widespread flaws in the vote count. The background of the expected winner, Olusegun Obasanjo, reflects the country's own struggles. Quote of note: "He'll do what he has to do to keep the boat on a steady keel but ultimately what matters to him is Nigeria as a united entity." - Karl Maier, Africa expert.

Whether American and other NATO forces go into Kosovo may depend in part on the attitude of one man: Adem Demaci, perhaps the most influential ideologue of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The KLA, after one year of fighting, is now in a lively debate on whether to sign the deal.

Last week's government report on racism in the British police has led to calls for "profound changes" in the way Britain treats its 3 million blacks.

- Clayton Jones World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *FACE OF A REBELLION: Reporting from Kosovo for today's story on divisions among the rebels in the Serbian province, correspondent Justin Brown notes how the evolution of an individual can reflect that of an organization. During heavy fighting last summer, trying to track down a mysterious but key regional commander known as Drini was all but impossible. On Saturday, Justin found Drini, relaxed in a clean uniform and scarf, joking with a European monitor in perfect English. Probably the most experienced military tactician in the KLA, Drini attended the best military academies in Belgrade and Sarajevo. The confident rebel leader supports the proposed peace plan's allowance of autonomy - but sees it purely as a stepping stone to independence. And he told Justin of the rebels' enormous support in the province: "Our network of informants is the biggest in the world. We have 2 million of them [the population of Kosovo]."

*THE GLITTERATI IN NIGERIA: Writer Lara Santoro has never seen such ostentatious wealth in Africa as she did last week at the Nicon-Noga Hilton in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, while covering the presidential campaign. For starters, the hotel - the largest in Africa - is a marbled structure built in the 1970s when oil riches were gushing. A single room can cost about $300. When Lara ended up on the same floor as candidate Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, she was witness to a parade of the rich and famous seeking to give him cash for his campaign - one gave $100,000. (Nigeria's average income is 5 percent of that in America.) Most of them wore huge gold watches and the finest flamboyant fabrics of Nigerian style.

Let us hear from you. Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail:

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Today's Story Line:
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today